PREFACE—ETHNIC ORIGINS: TRACING OUR HUMAN ROOTS
The pictures of the Muria and Maria people of Bastar district in Chhattisgarh, India, as seen through the lens of Ahmed Ali, are a window into the distant past. They show us an ancient world with a simple way of life which is now threatened by modernization and fast disappearing. They are a visual record of communities in their own territories, surviving without extraneous help and unaffected by modern medical knowledge and the science of economics. The subjects of the photographs appear refreshingly innocent, serene and untroubled. Is this a result of their gene pools having been isolated from those of other communities?
News & Events
NEWS & EVENTS
Tribal Talk, The tribes on Bastar come alive in Nafisa Ali's new coffee-table book
Indian Express, 3rd January 2008, by DIPANITA NATH
BASTAR periodically jolts into our con sciousness thanks to the ceaseless Naxalite violence in Chhattisgarh. But, even as terror attacks continued into December 2007, actor-activist Nafisa Aliworke d on he r own story of the region- a coffee-table book of photographs taken by Kolkat a-based photographer Ah med Ali , Nafisa's fat her and a pioneer in commercial, industrial and advertising photography in India. Itwas, she says, her way of paying tribute to her father as well as recording for posterity people who are standing on the cusp of tradition and modernity.
Bastar: TheLostHeritage focuses on the culture of the region through 150 black [....]
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Right in India's heartland, lies Chattisgarh, of which Bastar is an important district. Here the people are Ethnic Adivasi Tribal group, who live in remote forest areas. In earlier times, they were hunter-gatherers and lived an egalitarian lifestyle, being self sufficient unto themselves. Their innate reticence kept them from mingling with other communities, hereby keeping their cultural and social norms intact. Veteran Indian photographer, Ahmed Ali has captured the essence of the Bastar community in his splendid photographic rendition of perhaps one of India's earliest tribal groups. The book, “Bastar The Lost Heritage” which captures the life and times of the Bastar tribes in the 1950's is his daughter Nafisa Ali's tribute to her father's creative achievement. Speaking about her keen interest in social anthropology, and Darwin's " Origin of Species" which created a storm in 1859, his theory is that species evolved over generation through a process of natural selection.
Nafisa Ali admits, "The idea of evolution has always fascinated me, along with me man's evolution from the ape to primitive man, and then to the first settlers, who wandered the Earth as nomads to settle across Europe, Asia and Africa. To think that we might actually be the descendants of the first settlers is mind boggling. The knowledge that we as a race are all connected, is worth speculating and exploring.
The idea of a book on Bastar took root in 2005 when Nafisa accompanied her father to Bastar. It was a trip down memory lane for him. It was Ali's passion for photography and for animals that led him to remote areas in the interior. This quest for hunting took him to Bastar in 1950, to photograph the Adivasis in their natural habitat. It is fortunate that he recorded this vibrant community for posterity, as today's scenario has changed dramatically having lost the traditional habitate.. This book is a sincere attempt, a testimonial of the lives of these wonderful people and to share their existence with the world".
"Bastar- The Lost Heritage" is a father daughter endeavour, one that celebrates their respect and love for each other and their shared passion for photography, and using it as a powerful medium to zoom in on the lost heritage.